Sunday, May 13, 2023, marks the Twentieth Anniversary of the Racine Art Museum (RAM) opening its doors in Downtown Racine. Throughout the year, visitors can discover stunning exhibitions and programs that shine a light on RAM's achievements over the past two decades while predicting an even brighter future through continued support.
Since 2003, the museum has worked steadily to create a cultural center in the heart of the Racine Community while serving the national fine arts field through its exhibitions and permanent collection of contemporary craft—the most significant in North America. With the national scope of its programs and reach, RAM has also helped create a positive image for the greater Racine community through traveling exhibitions, national publications, and international media coverage. The museum is a significant anchor to Downtown Racine as well as a nationally recognized cultural destination in the heart of the community.
RAM Executive Director and Curator of Collections Bruce W. Pepich was recently interviewed by Neil Goodman of New Art Examiner about the museum's history and relationships with some of the people who helped make RAM what it is today—including renowned art collector Karen Johnson Boyd, her daughter, Henni Keland, and architect and Racine native Brad Lynch. This article was the cover story in New Art Examiner's April 2023 publication, which featured the exterior of RAM on the front cover.
American Bank and Trust Company, ca. 1930
In celebration of the museum's Twentieth Anniversary, several exhibitions and education programs in 2023 are inspired by the occasion:
Futures Reimagined: RAM Community Art Show
RAM is partnering with Mahogany Gallery in Racine to present Futures Reimaged: RAM Community Art Show, open June 14 – August 5, 2023, at RAM's Wustum Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition invites artists to share their ideas about what a potential future—realistic or fantastical, possible or impossible—could look like.
The 2023 RAM Community Art Show is inspired by the theme of Mahogany Gallery's 2nd Annual Wisconsin Black Arts and Culture Expo, Black Futures. As a part of Futures Reimagined, Mahogany Gallery CEO Scott Terry invited artists to participate in the next iteration of the Expo theme, Black Futures 2.
Kids Day: Time Capsules!
From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2023, at RAM's Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, families are invited to create art inspired by the past, present, and future—all to go into a personal time capsule. Kids and families can create multiple art projects, play art games, go on scavenger hunts, and more.
As part of RAM's commitment to supporting local and regional artists and partnerships, families will have the opportunity to meet two special guest artists during Kids Day. Printmaker and University of Wisconsin–Parkside artist-in-resident Roberto Torres Mata, as well as a featured artist invited by Mahogany Gallery for Black Futures 2, will offer hands-on art activities to showcase the type of artwork they are creating in their professional careers.
Photo: Azure Mahara Photography; Kids Day, 2022
RAM's First 20 Years: A Visual History of the Art and Architecture
One of the many distinctive aspects of RAM's award-winning architecture is a unique windowed, street-facing exhibition space that is viewable by passersby on 5th Street. The next exhibition in the Windows on Fifth Gallery, RAM's First 20 Years: A Visual History of the Art and Architecture, will focus on the museum's anniversary as subject matter—showcasing large-scale photographs of RAM exhibitions throughout the last two decades alongside other historical imagery and select sculptural works from the museum's permanent collection.
Not only do the images and objects featured in this exhibition establish a framework for understanding a formative time for this dynamic institution, but they also recognize the symbiotic relationship between the architectural space and the art that inhabits it.
RAM's First 20 Years is also an homage to Brad Lynch, a partner at the former architectural firm Brininstool + Lynch and Racine native. Lynch, who passed away in 2022, took his first art classes at RAM's Wustum Museum and incorporated his own experiences being raised in this community into his work on RAM. His desire to establish a space that would draw people inside led to distinctive building features such as the acrylic panels on the exterior and a ground floor with storefront-like windows that make the interior contents visible from the street.
Photo: Jon Bolton; Installation view from the exhibition High Fiber: Recent Large-Scale Acquisition in Fiber
September 30, 2012 – January 20, 2013
Exhibitions at Racine Art Museum are made possible by: Platinum Sponsors—Judith and David Flegel Fund, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Ron and Judith Isaacs, Nicholas and Nancy Kurten, Windgate Foundation; Diamond Sponsors—Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, Ruffo Family Foundation; Gold Sponsors—Anonymous, David Charak, Tom and Irene Creecy, Herzfield Foundation, Racine Community Foundation, Reliance Controls, Ruth Foundation for the Arts, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, W.T. Walker Group, Inc., Wisconsin Arts Board; Silver Sponsors—Art Bridges, A.C. Buhler Family, Andis Foundation, Baird, Lucy G. Feller, Ben and Dawn Flegel, Annette Hirsh Family, J. Jeffers & Co., Johnson Bank, Dorothy MacVicar, RDK Foundation, Real Racine, Jan Serr and John Shannon; Bronze Sponsors—Anonymous, Susan Boland, Virginia Buhler, Butcher & Barrel/Amos Los Tacos, Educators Credit Union, Express Employment Professionals, Get Behind the Arts Studio Tour, William A. Guenther, Tom and Sharon Harty, Tony and Andrea Hauser, David and Judy Hecker, Bradley Lynch, Carlotta Miller, Larry and Barbara Newman, The Norbell Foundation, The Prairie School, Georgiana Treivush, Twin Disc, Inc., Deb and Will Walker; Media Sponsors—88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Wisconsin Public Radio
About the Racine Art Museum
The two campuses of the Racine Art Museum—RAM in downtown Racine at 441 Main Street and RAM's Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts at 2519 Northwestern Avenue—are located in Racine, Wisconsin, a historic community on the shores of Lake Michigan. RAM is home to the largest contemporary craft collection in North America and has a reputation for its award-winning architecture and nationally recognized exhibition program. RAM's Wustum Museum of Fine Arts is home to the organization's diverse, award-winning art education programs and has presented significant art exhibitions since the 1940s.
Both campuses of the Racine Art Museum are currently operating with limited hours, open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. Both museums encourage all visitors and staff who are not fully vaccinated and those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask, to continue doing so in public areas at RAM and RAM's Wustum Museum of Fine Arts. Some in-person art classes and workshops at Wustum still require masks, determined on a case-by-case basis.